Party leaders get ready for debate ahead of election

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PEOPLE will be able to hear politicians discussing views on the future of Portsmouth at a debate ahead of this year’s local elections.

The News has invited politicians from the different parties to discuss big topics that will affect the constituents in their areas.

The debate comes ahead of the local and European elections which are set to take place on May 22.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson is the leader of the Liberal Democrats.

He said: ‘It’s really good to debate what the future of the city should be like, how we create jobs and how we create wealth for our local families, and how we make the difficult decisions we have to make.

‘There will be people who will be very concerned about jobs in the city and we need to be talking about how we are going to bring more jobs in.’

Councillor Donna Jones is the leader of the Conservative group.

She said: ‘It’s a great opportunity for members of the public to question and challenge and find out what the ideas are for the leaders or the political parties who are standing in the forthcoming elections.

‘I’m really committed to it and I think it’s a really good idea.’

Councillor John Ferrett is the leader of the Labour group. He said: ‘It’s a good idea for all the party leaders to get together and put across what they are standing for and what they believe is important to local people and how they can change things for local people.

‘Hopefully, I will be able to put across what the Labour policies are.’

Ben Norman is the local representative for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

He said: ‘It’s an excellent opportunity. We want to be able to show that the big four parties are pro-austerity and pro-cuts.

‘We are the only party that opposes these cuts.

‘Hopefully the questions will be able how cuts are affecting everyday people and how austerity is a huge issue not just during the election but every day.’

Stuart Potter is the chairman of the Ukip group in Portsmouth. He said: ‘It’s good to have a debate, it gets everything out in the open.

‘I want to make sure that people are aware that Ukip is a serious party.’

The debate will take place on Thursday at 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, at 6pm.